The last day of May had me leafing through the photos that I had taken throughout the Veniamin month of spring. The fragrant orgy of the warm Greek spring was simply irresistible not to lock away in digital form for the gloomiest days of winter and the promise of a rampant summer was achingly palpable in every petal and every leaf.
Here are some of them as a small tribute to the glory of scented walks in the city...
The season of the lilac is all too brief, its passing leaving behind a nostalgic pang for beauty betrodden.
I like to prolong their fragrant whisperings by wearing Tocadilly, After my Own Heart by Ineke and Highland Lilac of Rochester well into the early throes of summer, when their lush, ripe beauty is but a distant memory. (click the links for reviews)
Pittosporum tobira (the dominant blossom in the heart of the strict, celebral chypre Knowing by Estee Lauder) hides in its small little corola a sweet, intoxicating smell of white floral longing.
The whiffs caught in the evening make the heart palpitate with pleasure and rapture.
The vibrant flowers of oleander in pink, white or salmon are characteristic of the Greek landscape and truly abundant, even in the intense heat of the summer. Their dusty, bittersweet aroma that combines earth and stem is indicative of their poisonous nature, yet tempting to a tentative taste.
Robinia pseudoacacia (mock acacia) on the other hand blooms safely in May and the white grappes hanging off the trees are swaying in the cool breeze of early morning with the promise of sunny happiness.
Small statuettes are very common in doorways and porticos and here we have a Venetian lion under a climbing vine and fuschia bougainvillea bush. The early peaches are visible on the peach tree at the background. The succulent juice of the fruit whets my appetite for Péché Cardinal by parfums MDCI, in which the sinful peach is the indomitable protagonist.
Fig trees, their mighty shade and their dusty, bitter tang of the leaves always a welcome solace in the schorching rays of high summer, are already producing their first figs, unripe and green. They're bitter still, their white-ish "milk" making one's face grimace upon smelling like a child sucking on a sour lemon for the very first time.
The refreshing quality of both tree and fruit is lovingly captured in L'artisan's Premier Figuier, Cielo by Napa Valley, and A la figue by Satellite.
Scarlett bougainvilleas are sadly without their match in perfumery, but their emblematic contrast with the white of the houses casts our mind to summer vacations on Greek isles and their respective irresistible bouquet of aromata of herbs and foliage.
Roses are early bloomers in the warm climate and the juxtaposition of this most English of flowers with the terracotta of the archaic metopes and akroteria is arresting in its unexpectedness. Whenever the mood strikes me for a lush rose fragrance such as these blooms I turn to the embullient rose and violet combination that is Yves Saint Laurent's Paris; its crystal melody speaking of feminine elegance and almost tipsy romanticism. When I want an earthier companion to my rose, Une Rose Chyprée by Andy Tauer and Frédéric Malle's Une Rose provide the rich, dirty feel that enrobs my roses with the pungent soil odour following a summer thunderstorm. And finally when I'm all out for an orientalised classical rose that "would smell as sweet", nothing will do but Guerlain's Nahéma.
Last but not least, this garlanded doorway of delight had me stop in my tracks even before I turned the corner of the small alleyway; the fragrant stream of the jasmine trellis was so potent, so intoxicating, my feet had a will of their own trying to track the source of the heavenly aroma! Nothing caprtures the beauty and the awe of summer jasmine in the warm embrace of the Mediterannean like A la Nuit by Serge Lutens ~its enveloping hug is as mesmerising as falling in love all over again: not only with one's beloved but, more importantly, with life itself.
All photos by Elena Vosnaki, copyright for Perfume Shrine. Click to enlarge.